American Elephants

And If The Computer Models Are Just Plain Wrong, Then What, Mr. President? by The Elephant's Child


President Barack Obama is urging Congress to pass a cap-and-trade bill that would cost every American family over $3,000 a year in increased costs for everything they buy.  We have all heard of drastically rising temperatures, rising seas and melting icecaps.  What if it’s all a lie?

There seems to have been a slight warming trend over the last century, but by how much?  A new report by meteorologist Anthony Watts, proprietor of the best science weblog, casts doubt on the reliability of the U.S. temperature record over the last 100 years.

There are currently over 1200 surface temperature stations across the country.  Some of these stations have been collecting data for over 100 years.  Pictured above is the station in Orland, California, which has been recording temperatures in the same place for a century.  It is well sited.   This is not true of some other stations.  If thermometers are located where the temperature is influenced by hot pavement, trash burners, air conditioning exhaust, reflections from nearby buildings, the readings are of questionable value.  And it seems that a lot are questionable.

Working with an army of volunteers, Watts has documented the surroundings of around 70 percent of American temperature data sites.  Using the government’s own standards, Watts graded each site on a scale from 1 to 5.  A grade of 1 to 2 indicated a reliable location, as the Orland station.  A grade of 3 to 5  can result in temperature errors of several degrees according to the government’s own studies.

To date, only 3 percent of stations surveyed were grade 1.  Roughly 8 percent were grade 2, meaning that only 11 percent of stations were located in a manner that resulted in reliable temperature data.  20 percent of stations were grade 3, the majority (58 percent) were grade 4 and 11 percent flunked absolutely at grade 5, which meant that their temperature records were off by 3°.  That’s a lot, if you are rearranging the government, the public’s use of energy, taxes, transportation, and people’s lives because of so-called global warming.

Marysville issues1

Here is an example of a poor location in Marysville, California. The thermometer instruments are  labeled “MMTS Shelter” with an asphalt parking lot radiating heat, a nearby cell tower, and multiple air conditioning unit exhausts belching heat.  Unreliable doesn’t begin to describe it.  But this is an example of  a town that has grown up around a long-established station.  Anything that could influence the temperature, according to government standards, must be at least 100 feet from the thermometer shelter.

The United States surface temperature records were supposed to be the most thorough, long standing and most reliable in the world.  If most of the stations were recording temperatures that were several degrees too warm, what happens to all of the one degree of warming over the last century that has panicked governments (including ours) across the world.  And if the temperature records of today’s climate are wrong, then what does that say about the climate model’s predictions of future warming?

For those who are interested, the report is available here.  Further information on the project with a Google earth map of station locations is here, and you can even volunteer, for there are still many stations to survey.  Anthony Watts’ excellent blog can be found here, with always new and fascinating information about the science  and fun of climate change.  His site even includes a glossary to help you decipher scientist language.

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